Think about your financial future
Presumably, you don't want to be working for the rest of your life, and you'd like to take some time toward the end to kick back before you kick the bucket.
It is morbid ... but we will all die.
And will you be happy looking back on your best years only to realise you've slogged away for retirement living back with your offspring.
I won't. Like I said, I'm sure I was born to be rich and there's only so much faith I can put into winning Lotto.
And given I'm nearing the wrong end of my 20s, it's the perfect time to start thinking about my golden years.
I'm on Kiwisaver, and the first lot of that will likely go towards my first home deposit. As I get older I'm going to have to be conscious about saving more, and saving in more than one way.
One of the things about saving for your retirement, is that you need to have some disposable income.
Having disposable income however, is easier said than done. Living is not cheap, and if you're earning less than the average New Zealand hourly wage like me, which is $27.48 or $57,158.40 per year, there is often little left over to put away for an as yet unforeseeable future.
Jill Spooner, from Women in Super, says what's even more concerning is the lack of thought our young ones are putting into increasing their revenue streams when they're older.
The 2010 students occupational choice survey states that since 1979, the average dream job for a Kiwi 16-year-old girl has shifted from being either an air hostess, a typist or a nurse, to being either an air hostess, kindergarten teacher or a hairdresser.
Now, each of those are highly admirable professions, where there is plenty of scope for career progression and fulfillment.
But what might be concerning, is that in the 34 years since that survey began, there has been little to no change in the kinds of careers young girls think themselves capable of.
"We need to be encouraging our young ladies to spend some time actually having a look at the options they have available to them, in this brave new world where being female doesn't actually restrict you a great deal," Spooner said.
And when young women, and men for that matter, don't invest in the bigger picture, it becomes hard to play catch up later in life.
Declaration: I failed 6th maths with statistics (I was put up to 7th form anyway, and passed that). But I was great with english, and from the age of 16 I had already identified a career in writing would suit me.
I put less effort into maths, and while I know enough to be able to budget and work out the odd percentage change, put me in a pressure situation and all that knowledge goes out the window.
Spooner has provided me with some comfort however.
"There are studies that show that when you're in a state of stress, the part of the brain that you actually require to perform mathematical functions is busy coping with the fact that you're stressed," she said.
"If we can get our youngsters more comfortable with mathematics and make it something that they feel that they're good at then they will actually do better just by virtue of the fact that they will feel better doing it. It is essential to be able to manage your finances"
She also said people needed to think about their health and mortality rates when thinking about their quality of life in later years.
Women often don't marry blokes younger than them, and should expect to live longer.
More than 54 per cent of women were on the single person's rate of super.
"The white knight, he may be looking after your financial affairs, but make sure you're across it, because there could well come a time you'll find yourself on your own," Spooner said.
If you're a single person living alone, the rate you get is greater than twice the couple rate, but it's still not flash.
And women as well, (sorry men, you are important too - honest), need to face the cold hard reality that it's them that takes the time off to have the babies.
"Even if you're only out of the work force for five years - the world moves on. You're still going have ongoing child care obligations, so it's difficult for women to progress through their careers. When you come to separate, it's very rare for there to be any award that you've taken a cut in your future income."
In short, invest!
Invest in your education, if that's what you think will get you earning the big bucks. Invest in your skills to perhaps build some extra money making ventures on the side. Above all invest in your retirement - otherwise what is all this for?
TOP TIPS FOR THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
Open a KiwiSaver account or other retirement fund and have money go in there BEFORE you get paid.
Don't shy away from maths kiddiewinks - Trust me, you will need this stuff in real life, and you will wish you were better at it.
Women doing it for themselves! There are many women out there who have no issues earning their own money, handling their own finances and making there own decisions. There are however still women who will be expecting to marry into this sort of thing... bad idea.
Think big - you can be anything!
If you can earn money from more than one source - do. The more income streams the better.
- © Fairfax NZ News